At times, the farmyard very much mimics human life. I often take time to just sit and quietly observe the interactions of our residents. The turkeys are getting big and hitting that age when they take notice of the opposite sex. I suppose I should amend that statement and say that the males are taking notice of the females.
Every morning I let the birds out of their protective nighttime pen to give them free range of the pasture. There is typically a frantic rush to the newly filled buckets for the choicest pieces of organic feed. They quickly gorge, but only for a mere second before the hormones kick in. Then the preening begins. Here is where it becomes oddly human.
It starts with the “air time” event. The toms leap off of the ground to show the ladies how high they can jump and how gracefully they can nail the landing. The females look off into the distance without even a casual nod of appreciation.
Next up is the “run through the pasture” portion of the competition. The males take off full stride, with wings outstretched as they attempt to dazzle the ladies with their power, speed and impressive wingspan. Again, the females barely notice this pathetic grab for attention.
When all else fails, the males move to what they believe to be a sure thing, the “puff and strut” grand finale. They slow the whole theatrical production down and channel their best Barry White. They jut out their tail feathers, puff out everything else, thrust their wings in a downward fashion and make their faces and necks turn bright red. Then they strut, real smooth like…….back and forth in front of the object of their desire.
I watched one couple this morning and felt an instant kinship with the female turkey. As the boy slowly strutted and pranced and looked as though he was going to pass out due to lack of oxygen, I saw the first and only glimmer of interest on her part. You see, she couldn’t care less about the jumping about, or the fleet of foot, or even the seductive strut………she spied a choice hunk of organic feed stuck on the corner of his beak. Food, works every time.